Summer Intern Experience Of An IIM grad At An Indian Unicron Start-up

  • Content & PR team - MBAtious

    Author is pursuing PGDM at IIM Calcutta.

    So, being a start-up and e-com enthusiast I was excited to spend my 2 months of summer exploring this space. My Role basically was that of a product manager and my project title had single line statement of increasing the company’s market share to 50%. I will start by sharing some gyaan on what a product manager does and how should his mind basically function?

    PM’s are the CEO’s of individual tasks/features/functionalities.

    Ex: You can have an e-com firm that is planning to launch a one-day delivery option to its customers.

    Now PM will head the whole task – right from coordinating with the logistics head to adding the feature on the website by detailing the mechanism to the developers.

    Also Read : An Overview of Product Management Roles - Piyush Awadhesh, The Lisbon MBA (2012 - 2013)

    Coming back to my experience, though it was a 7-8 year old company it was mostly organized. I was working under the head of digital and performance marketing of one particular vertical.

    So, I had to look at both quantitative as well as qualitative things that could help improve the market share to 50%.Here came digital marketing – SEO’s , SEM’s and stuff ! I had to quickly learn the mechanisms behind this (in less than 2 days) and start designing new strategies and implementing them in the coming weeks.

    E-com firms are largely data driven, at least the digital marketing happens completely on the data available .I remember a senior folk telling me “ No product manager knows which product design can get you more conversion rate it’s just trial and error-you are lucky if it works in your favour”. What essentially we can understand is a good product manager gets to the perfect product design/mechanism sooner than the beginner.

    At an overall level, these are the few things you need to have to work (survive) in a start up 

    • Passion - You can talk endlessly about this, ultimately when you are put there you can clearly and easily differentiate the passionate ones from the bunch.
    • You should be the one who loves to solve problems –not the one who finds the problems and leave it – if you can come up with solution for the problems – that’s brilliant.
    • You shouldn’t be a fan of hierarchy , I remember a day when the vertical head came up to my desk for a quick update on the task
    • You need not network with people desperately. At the end of the day your work speaks louder
    • Be technically strong. No, not tech savvy but someone who can write algorithms and may be learn programming language in a short time if needed ( I had to build a tool which made me write few lines of code )
    • Be good at excel, every day 4-5 hours you keep staring at the same excel sheet analysing truckloads of data.

    You keep hearing so much about e-com and start-ups! No matter what the right one’s will survive in the longer run.

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